It’s Talladega week, which means pretty much every driver in the field is on the table to pick in DraftKings this weekend. These races are incredibly unpredictable and it’s usually quite fun to build lineups, but also frustrating when your lineups get taken out with a single wreck. What I normally do with these races is just roll with my lineups and enjoy the race, expecting to lose. If you build your lineups with a good strategy in mind, then you’re just hoping for luck on race day. Now let’s get to the strategy for Sunday!!!!

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Also, be sure to check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!

Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages

Pack Racing and drafting at Daytona
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

There’s really not much point to look at much data this weekend, because it’s really more about the strategy you take with building a lineup and starting position, and then getting lucky, but because I know some people like to look at numbers, I’ve included a chart below with superspeedway track data for this season. I will note that one interesting number to look at is percent of laps inside the top 15 (explanation as to why in this week’s YouTube video).

Also included is the history of ownerships on DraftKings in the first three superspeedway races this season.

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • ARP = average running position
  • DR = driver rating
  • FL = fastest laps (total)
  • LL = laps led (total)
  • T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
  • Total Laps = laps completed (total)

2021 Driver Averages At Superspeedways

Total Laps
% in Top 15
Kevin Harvick308.011.190.5123340555672.84%
Jamie McMurray108.016.785.38010920054.50%
Ryan Preece308.313.391.819935755664.21%
Austin Dillon309.709.999.3121045455581.80%
Chase Elliott311.711.490.4124242155675.72%
Bubba Wallace313.012.592.3192535555464.08%
Tyler Reddick313.319.573.27015654428.68%
Ryan Blaney313.310.679.031827537074.32%
Ross Chastain314.012.987.7162639655571.35%
Michael McDowell314.713.578.217125141460.63%
Austin Cindric115.010.491.58216619983.42%
Cole Custer315.314.179.99132955559.28%
Corey Lajoie316.018.972.613123455542.16%
Brad Keselowski316.012.090.512143254679.12%
Denny Hamlin317.012.3101.61414838155368.90%
Chase Briscoe317.319.071.921116155229.17%
Chris Buescher318.013.467.85824937067.30%
Ryan Newman318.326.152.2644636912.47%
Justin Haley218.526.554.1403835510.70%
BJ McLeod319.326.152.520225513.99%
Harrison Burton120.020.758.4204419123.04%
Matt DiBenedetto321.316.064.572818136949.05%
Aric Almirola321.320.459.012169836926.56%
Christopher Bell322.010.790.5204240254773.49%
William Byron322.018.078.882422952843.37%
Kyle Busch322.307.6100.841151654694.51%
Kurt Busch323.324.062.822010654519.45%
Kaz Grala323.326.357.81310344627.36%
Josh Bilicki323.730.344.42065391.11%
Anthony Alfredo323.729.645.060113682.99%
Kyle Larson323.713.864.312124136765.67%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr324.716.373.511026154847.63%
Joey Logano325.011.787.597335042282.94%
Cody Ware326.027.545.65085491.46%
Erik Jones326.022.451.51879736826.36%
JJ Yeley126.025.646.51091914.71%
Daniel Suarez326.327.248.71203936810.60%
Alex Bowman327.019.167.65117830159.14%
David Starr128.036.432.20001630.00%
Martin Truex Jr328.718.570.7311323254542.57%
Joey Gase328.729.541.31065441.10%
Timmy Hill129.030.835.73021901.05%
Garrett Smithley131.031.936.30011630.61%
Quin Houff335.031.836.74083412.35%
Landon Cassill137.022.966.8303414623.29%
David Ragan137.035.530.700101376.92%

2021 Superspeedway Ownership Averages

Avg. OwnershipDriverDaytona-2 OwnTalladega-1 OwnDaytona 500 Own
33.91%Denny Hamlin24.58%24.64%52.51%
33.71%Austin Cindric33.71%
28.77%Kaz Grala38.53%22.14%25.64%
28.52%Harrison Burton28.52%
24.65%Joey Logano39.21%17.88%16.85%
22.44%Ryan Newman16.70%40.80%9.82%
21.43%Brad Keselowski12.09%19.05%33.16%
21.42%Ross Chastain34.52%5.44%24.31%
20.96%Erik Jones11.32%16.82%34.74%
20.76%Tyler Reddick15.13%20.97%26.17%
20.59%Austin Dillon41.93%10.68%9.15%
19.05%Justin Haley16.34%21.76%
18.62%Ricky Stenhouse Jr10.47%27.90%17.48%
18.22%Landon Cassill28.35%8.08%
17.82%Ryan Blaney10.43%21.85%21.18%
17.72%Corey Lajoie32.53%16.81%3.82%
17.63%Bubba Wallace19.58%22.33%10.97%
17.25%Martin Truex Jr7.32%10.08%34.36%
17.21%Chase Elliott17.62%15.99%18.01%
17.19%Ryan Preece14.30%34.18%3.10%
16.44%Kevin Harvick10.88%22.36%16.08%
15.83%Chris Buescher7.40%19.84%20.25%
15.73%Cole Custer16.74%15.20%15.24%
15.40%Michael McDowell16.61%18.56%11.04%
15.27%Garrett Smithley2.01%28.52%
15.05%Aric Almirola13.14%21.34%10.67%
14.44%Kyle Larson15.25%15.63%12.44%
13.36%Matt DiBenedetto11.84%7.04%21.21%
13.04%Kurt Busch10.44%13.86%14.81%
11.85%Kyle Busch10.33%10.21%15.01%
11.25%David Ragan11.25%
10.87%Chase Briscoe6.11%10.95%15.56%
10.28%Anthony Alfredo11.82%5.17%13.85%
9.45%William Byron12.05%11.50%4.80%
9.05%Christopher Bell12.01%9.07%6.06%
8.88%Daniel Suarez15.83%7.50%3.32%
8.24%Alex Bowman13.28%5.84%5.59%
8.08%Timmy Hill8.08%
7.66%Jamie McMurray7.66%
5.98%David Starr6.09%5.87%
5.87%JJ Yeley5.87%
4.23%Joey Gase6.72%4.37%1.60%
3.14%Josh Bilicki3.12%2.72%3.58%
2.85%BJ McLeod1.97%1.57%5.01%
2.72%Cody Ware1.74%2.36%4.06%
2.70%Quin Houff2.62%2.14%3.35%
0.69%Derrike Cope0.69%

DraftKings Strategy for Talladega

  • Looking up statistics really doesn’t matter this week. Landing on a good lineup is all about starting position and then getting lucky on race day with all six of your drivers finishing well. Seriously, my rule at Talladega and Daytona are always the same: it doesn’t matter who you pick, it matters the strategy with which you pick them.
  • Make sure you check out the breakdown video this week (linked below). I go pretty in-depth when it comes to strategy.
  • This is the type of build I’m looking to go with for tournament builds:
    • 1 to 2 drivers starting from 7th to mid-teens (avoiding the top 5 entirely)
    • 2 to 4 drivers starting mid-teens to high-20s
    • 1 to 2 drivers starting in the 30s, maybe 3 drivers
  • It’s worth looking into previous ownerships in superspeedway races to get an idea of where the chalk is going to be. You can adjust for other factors, such as recent performance, what industry talking heads are saying, and obviously starting position and salary.

Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video

Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal DraftKings lineup for Talladega on Sunday according to my Projections is:

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Justin Haley
  • Joey Logano
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Ryan Preece
  • Bubba Wallace

Confidence Rating = ???/10. I wouldn’t roll with Denny Hamlin in a lineup. He’s going to project well because he’s so good at these tracks and should lead significant laps. With this lineup, I’d switch out Hamlin for someone starting in the mid-teens to mid-20s, and maybe do the same with one or both of Logano/Harvick.

GPP / Tournament Picks

Cole Custer ($6,800) – Cole Custer has had a truly awful season, but don’t let that persuade you from picking him at Talladega on Sunday. Unfortunately, public opinion does weigh into ownership, so Custer’s struggles should keep his ownership lower this weekend even though he’s starting back in 28th. So just to break this down: you’re going heavier on a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford starting in 28th that is likely to come in at mid-teens ownership in DraftKings. I love that leverage play. Custer has been a top 7 DraftKings scorer in two of the three superspeedway races this season.

Anthony Alfredo ($5,700) – Fast Pasta Boi doesn’t get much love on superspeedways and I really can’t explain why. On Sunday, I’ll be shocked if Alfredo is above 15-20% ownership, and it’s likely he’ll come in at below that despite starting back in 30th. Pasta brought this #38 Ford home in 6th the last time we were here at Talladega and was competitive in the second Daytona race this season after finally getting back on the lead lap. He got caught up in one of the late wrecks. Once again, I’ll likely be super overweight on Anthony Alfredo and his Front Row Motorsports Ford on Sunday.

The Shitboxes ($4,500 – $5,500) – Every time we go to a superspeedway race, we see the shitboxes–guys like Houff, Bilicki, McLeod, Gase, Ware, Smithley, and Starr–go severely under-owned. The highest we’ve seen is Timmy Hill at just over 8% ownership in the first Talladega race, but most of these guys hover around the 3-5% range. That shouldn’t be the case. Yeah, it’ll take a really crazy race for a shitbox or two to make it into the optimal lineup on Sunday, but there’s a higher chance than 5% of that happening. These guys are the safest options in the field when it comes to the potential of ruining a lineup, and are great pivots off of the low starter chalk on Sunday. All it takes is one big wreck and someone like BJ McLeod suriving to put up a massive DraftKings score…

Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & Brandon Cruz

Cash Core Drivers

Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman racing at Daytona
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Justin Haley ($9,400) – Justin Haley is a very strong superspeedway racer and is in the #16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing this weekend. That’s the same car that Kaz Grala finished 6th with here at Talladega in the spring while also contending (and leading) at Daytona this year. The cherry on top is that Haley will start from back in 38th on Sunday, which makes him a very safe DFS play with huge upside potential. Beware, though: he’s also going to probably be the highest-owned driver on the slate.

Landon Cassill ($7,200) – The absolute safest DraftKings play in the field this weekend is Landon Cassill, who starts dead last. It is impossible for him to score negative FPTS on Sunday, and obviously his ceiling is really high with all of the place differential potential. And the best part? It’s not like he’s going to be driving a junker car; this #96 Toyota has respectable speed and Harrison Burton came home 20th with it here at Talladega in the spring.

Ryan Preece ($6,700) – Ryan Preece has actually been a pretty dependable superspeedway racer during his Cup Series career, and he’s shown strenght this season on these big tracks, as he has the 12th-best average running position over the three races at Daytona/Talladega. Here at Dega specifically, Preece has never finished worse than 18th in five career starts and even has a couple of top 10 finishes to his name. He’ll start from back in 27th on Sunday so is a relatively safe pick with great upside.

YellaWood 500 at Talladega DraftKings Driver Projections

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Denny Hamlin$10,50048.5823.85%163.5005.0$216
Joey Logano$7,90046.8517.65%862.3506.0$169
Justin Haley$9,40046.7538.76%3878.7517.5$201
Ryan Preece$6,70044.9824.17%2766.1514.2$149
Kevin Harvick$7,80043.5512.84%951.3006.8$179
Ross Chastain$9,60041.2818.14%2358.2014.2$233
Bubba Wallace$5,90039.5715.76%1964.4012.3$149
Chris Buescher$7,40039.0720.54%2462.9013.5$189
Aric Almirola$9,20038.8018.91%2060.0513.5$237
Ryan Blaney$10,70038.6518.84%462.6505.7$277
Austin Dillon$7,10038.6316.54%1660.3010.2$184
Landon Cassill$7,20037.7330.37%4061.9022.0$191
Brad Keselowski$8,60037.6310.01%757.8008.2$229
Michael McDowell$6,10036.0319.14%2256.7015.7$169
Chase Elliott$8,80035.1315.84%347.3007.7$250
Ryan Newman$7,50035.0722.41%2566.4015.8$214
Corey Lajoie$6,90034.5826.57%2963.2518.7$200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,00033.6315.12%2162.8015.0$178
Cole Custer$6,80033.3517.93%2853.3518.7$204
William Byron$9,80032.8517.25%1058.1011.5$298
Chase Briscoe$5,60032.829.53%1748.1515.2$171
Erik Jones$6,50032.3723.77%2662.7019.3$201
Justin Allgaier$9,00032.2827.96%3357.7021.0$279
Matt DiBenedetto$6,30031.1313.67%1553.3015.3$202
Christopher Bell$7,70028.4810.06%1254.6516.0$270
Tyler Reddick$6,40027.6810.12%1348.3514.5$231
Alex Bowman$10,20026.239.18%1152.9013.7$389
Anthony Alfredo$5,70026.0713.66%3049.9023.5$219
Martin Truex Jr$7,60023.958.14%652.2014.5$317
Kurt Busch$10,00021.2715.44%1458.3518.3$470
Joey Gase$4,90021.175.14%3645.0028.3$231
Kyle Busch$8,20021.057.17%254.5512.5$390
BJ McLeod$4,70019.831.99%3253.0025.8$237
Cody Ware$5,10016.831.54%3136.0028.0$303
Josh Bilicki$4,60015.832.97%3449.0029.0$291
Kyle Larson$8,40015.3016.71%536.8016.0$549
David Starr$5,50015.174.89%3927.0032.7$363
Quin Houff$4,50014.673.51%3548.0030.2$307
Daniel Suarez$7,00014.638.40%1843.8022.8$478
Garrett Smithley$5,20012.175.51%3729.0033.5$427
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.